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Mid-sized housing markets battle constant fluctuation

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Mid-sized cities, much like their larger counterparts, are experiencing a similar phenomenon where home prices are constantly fluctuating up and down. It's called a catfish recovery, Altos Research said Monday. And in a catfish recovery, home prices bob up and down, making it hard to predict when a real recovery or downturn will officially take hold. In Altos' 20-city composite report on mid-sized cities, the research agency found home prices increased in 19 of 21 mid-cities surveyed last month. The mid-cities median price rose 1.11% in May, hitting $254,046, compared to $251,247 in April. The mid-sized cities experiencing the largest increases were Orlando, Fla., Boise, Idaho, and Boulder, Colo., all of which saw price gains above 5.5%. Altos concluded in its latest report that "headlines are still talking about a double-dip in housing and the mid-cities numbers provide further evidence of strength in prices across the board. The S&P/Case-Shiller numbers will report the same price strength in the late summer and early fall." The only mid-sized markets to report declines in the past three months were Honolulu, with price declines in the 2.64% range; Reno, Nev., which experienced a 0.33% decline; and Charleston, S.C. with a 0.24% drop. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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